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Lord Henley: My Lords, I thank the Government Chief Whip for that wise and sensible statement.

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Perhaps I may put on record that we hope that all future statements from the Government about business management will be equally wise and sensible and that we shall have appropriate announcements in due course.

Lord Carter: My Lords, when the Opposition Chief Whip says that I am being wise and sensible I am very suspicious.

Procedure of the House: Select Committee Report

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham): My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing in my name on the Order Paper.

Moved, That the Third Report from the Select Committee (HL Paper 85) be agreed to.--(The Chairman of Committees.)

Following is the report referred to:


    1. Humble Address for Queen's Consent


    When a Private Member's Bill in the Lords is directed substantially to the Queen's prerogative, the practice is for the private Member to move an Address seeking the consent of the Crown before the Bill is introduced. This motion may be debated and opposed.


    The origins of this procedure are unclear and it is confined to Private Members' Bills. The procedure does not exist in the Commons. The procedure can have the effect of denying the House any sight of the Bill because the Bill cannot be introduced if the Motion for the Humble Address is successfully opposed.' In the opinion of the Committee, it is not desirable that the House should, on a technicality, be able to reject a Bill before seeing it and debating it.


    The Committee therefore recommends that the practice relating to Queen's consent should be the same for Private Members' Bills as for government Bills. In the case of a Bill substantially affecting the prerogative, the Government should, on behalf of the private Member, seek Queen's consent and, if it is granted, a Minister who is a privy counsellor should announce it to the House before Second Reading.


    Her Majesty the Queen has been consulted about this recommendation and is content to let the House decide the issue.


    2. Human Rights: changes to Standing Orders arising from the appointment of a Joint Committee


    In the expectation that the two Houses of Parliament will agree to appoint a Joint Committee on Human Rights before the summer recess, and in view of the coming fully into force of the Human Rights Act 1998 on 2 October 2000, the Committee recommends amendments to Standing Orders consequential on such an appointment. A motion to amend the Standing Orders would only be tabled after the House has agreed to the appointment of a Human Rights Committee.


    The changes proposed are set out below. They would have the following effects:


    -- to add the new Joint Committee to the list of sessional committees whose business is not interrupted by prorogation; and


    -- to make the Joint Committee responsible for scrutiny of remedial orders made under the Human Rights Act 1998, and to relieve the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments of that responsibility.

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    The Committee also recommends that the rotation rule should be applied to the new Joint Committee, giving Lords Members a maximum period of service of four sessions. An extension of three years should be given to any Lord who may be chosen as chairman of the Joint Committee.


    The Committee recommends one further amendment to Standing Order 73 (Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments) to bring it into line with an amendment already made in the House of Commons. The amendment is consequential on the devolution legislation. It would exclude from the consideration of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments any statutory instrument mad, by a member of the Scottish Executive or by the National Assembly for Wales, unless such a statutory instrument is required to be laid before the United Kingdom Parliament or either House of it.

Proposed amendments to Standing Orders


    Standing Order 40 (arrangement of the Order Paper)


    After paragraph (6), insert the following new paragraph:


    ("(6A) Any motion relating to a report from the Joint Committee on Human Rights on a remedial order or draft remedial order laid under Schedule 2 to the Human Rights Act 1998 shall be entered before a motion to approve that order or draft order.")


    Standing Order 64 (sessional committees)


    After ("House of Lords' Offices Committee") insert ("Human Rights Committee")


    Standing Order 72 (affirmative instruments)


    In paragraph (1)(a), after ("Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994") insert ("or a draft remedial order or remedial order laid under Schedule 2 to the Human Rights Act 1998")


    In paragraph (b), after ("Delegated Powers and Deregulation Committee") insert:


    ("(c) in the case of a draft remedial order or remedial order laid under Schedule 2 to the Human Rights Act 1998, there has been laid before the House the report thereon of the Joint Committee on Human Rights:


    Provided that the report is laid


    (i) in the case of a draft remedial order, within 60 days of the laying of the draft order or


    (ii) in the case of an order not approved in draft, within 119 days of the making of the original order,

such periods to be calculated in the manner prescribed by Schedule 2 to the Act;")


    Standing Order 73 (Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments)


    In paragraph (1), after ("Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994") insert ("and any remedial order or draft remedial order under Schedule 2 to the Human Rights Act 1998")


    In paragraph (2), line 4, after ("but) insert (---not including any statutory instrument made by a member of the Scottish Executive or by the National Assembly for Wales unless it is required to be laid before Parliament or either House of Parliament and").


    3. The Companion to the Standing Orders


    The Committee considered and approved a revised text of the Companion to the Standing Orders, as drafted by the sub-committee appointed on 4 April 2000. The Committee expressed its gratitude to the sub-committee for undertaking this arduous task.


    The Committee agreed that the Companion should be printed on standard A5 paper and continue to be a single volume.

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    It is intended to revise and publish later in the year the Brief Guide to the procedure and practice of the House of Lords, drawing on the new edition of the Companion. The page size of the Brief Guide will be the same as it is now. 1 This happened on the motion for an Humble Address on Lord Forsyth of Drumlean's Succession to the Crown Bill: 2 December 1999, HL Deb, cols 917-9.

On Question, Motion agreed to.

Consolidated Fund (Appropriation) Bill

Lord McIntosh of Haringey: My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a second time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a second time.--(Lord McIntosh of Haringey.)

On Question, Bill read a second time; Committee negatived.

Then, Standing Order No. 46 having been suspended (pursuant to Resolution of 18th July), Bill read a third time, and passed.

Cheques (Scotland) Bill [H.L.]

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, on behalf of my noble friend Lord Younger of Leckie, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a third time.--(Lord Astor of Hever.)

On Question, Bill read a third time.

Lord Astor of Hever: My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass.

Moved, That the Bill do now pass.--(Lord Astor of Hever.)

On Question, Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.

Street Works Bill [H.L.]

Lord Peyton of Yeovil: My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill be now read a third time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read a third time.--(Lord Peyton of Yeovil.)

On Question, Bill read a third time.

An amendment (privilege) made.

Lord Peyton of Yeovil: My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill do now pass. I know that this is not the moment for a speech but I should like to inject a note of civility and gratitude in the direction of the Government Chief Whip, who has been most helpful. Perhaps I may express the hope that his natural helpfulness and courtesy will prove a means of influencing his colleagues in another place to see the light which is so obvious to himself. Perhaps I may also ask him to pass on to Mary Robertson a note of my gratitude and everlasting admiration. I am most grateful.

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Moved, That the Bill do now pass.--(Lord Peyton of Yeovil.)

On Question, Bill passed, and sent to the Commons.

Television Licences (Disclosure of Information) Bill

Read a third time, and passed.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Bill

3.13 p.m.

Read a third time.

Clause 2 [Meaning and location of "interception" etc.]:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Bassam of Brighton) moved Amendment No. 1:


    Page 5, line 37, leave out subsections (11) and (12)

The noble Lord said: My Lords, the new definition of communications data that we brought forward at Report stage was generally welcomed. The rather complicated amendment that we tabled sought to clarify the definition in such a way as to remove the possibility of catching the content of a communication. The intricate nature of the definition and the complex changes we had needed to make to that definition had led us to believe that we needed some way of coming back to this definition if changing technology required it. Hence our inclusion of an order-making power.

Admittedly, that proposal did not receive universal support. The noble Lords, Lord Cope and Lord McNally, expressed some concern that the order-making power did not include a limitation that any suggested definition would not be widened to include content. Although noble Lords accepted that it was never our intention to include content within the definition of communications data, their misgivings struck a chord, and I agreed to reflect further on the wording of our amendment to see whether we could provide a stricter formulation that would assuage the concerns that had been understandably expressed.

We considered various drafting arrangements to limit the power so that it could not be used to include more data than the current definition, as was always our intention, but the drafting exercise simply became too complex. The Government have therefore tabled Amendments Nos. 1 and 12 and consequential amendments, Amendments Nos. 47 and 49, to remove the order-making powers relating to the definition of communications data. I sense that the amendments will probably be welcomed by the House. I beg to move.


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